Nate Parker's 'Birth of a Nation' - Electrifying Sundance Premiere
Nate is an amazing actor/director, but also a passionate activist. We've had the opportunity to talk and become friends and I'm so proud of his acheivement! - Speech
Worldwide rights for this awesome film have been bought by Fox Searchlight for a whopping $17.5 million! Keep in mind that, as I said in my earlier post below, Fox Searchlight also released "12 Years a Slave" 2 years ago, and saw much success with it, at the box office, and awards received (including a Best Picture Oscar). So this acquisition is certainly fitting for the company.
It made its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. I'm unfortunately not at Sundance this year, so no early review of the film from me - at least, not until it screens in New York City, which I hope will be sooner than later.
But while you wait, I thought I'd round up some Twitter reactions from those who were present for the screening this evening, to give you some idea of what's being said about it thus far. In brief, reactions have been overwhelmingly positive on the film, which is obviously great, and should lead to a distributor pick up. Both Anne Thompson at Thompson on Hollywood and Deadline suggested that there is distributor is interest; "Potential buyers for the film streamed out of the lobby mere minutes after the cast had left the stage post-screening. Some worked multiple cell phones (with assistants standing nearby fielding calls of their own) in what appeared to be fevered discussions about the awards-bait film," Deadline said in its post-screening report. Thompson's tweet was similar, further identifying both Fox Searchlight and Roadside Attractions as potential bidders.
So it may only be a matter of time before we receive news of an acquisition. It would make sense for Fox Searchlight given that they were successful with "12 Years a Slave" two years ago (Nate Parker's film is, as you might expect, already drawing comparisons to Steve McQueen's Oscar-winning drama, even if only because of the subject matter/period). It's also a film that I mentioned in my 2017 Oscar potentials list, published last week.
Titled "The Birth of a Nation," Parker wrote, directed and also stars in the film, playing Nat Turner.
The official synopsis reads: Set against the antebellum South, this story follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. After witnessing countless atrocities against fellow slaves, Nat devises a plan to lead his people to freedom.
Joining Parker in front of the camera are Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, and Mark Boone Jr.